This week’s blog post is by Jason Wagner, MyLifeLine.org Board President.
MyLifeLine.org strives to provide a place where cancer patients get practical and emotional support from their friends and family. As a board member, I try to visualize about more than what we currently do well but also to think about the changing and evolving needs of all those we serve, spending time on the vision of what could be for the cancer community.
Today, we are the only nonprofit of our kind specifically serving the cancer community and we have built an impressive offering. Even by comparison to for-profit company standards, our features include a place to post updates, the ability to customize security settings, a “helping calendar” to ease and coordinate rides, meals and more from loved ones giving invaluable support to those in need, and where needed a place to respectfully ask for financial donations from friends and family. We know these tools are critical features to our users, because every day we hear things like “MyLifeLine really was my lifeline.”
We recognize cancer treatment is about more than medicine. Research shows outcomes are affected positively when people have a strong support community. More than being an efficient tool to coordinate a complex time, this research validates even further meaning why we do what we do. Giving people a place they feel safe and supported by their friends and family, without having to wade through piles of emails or repeat and relive every doctor’s appointment or piece of news. We efficiently get the news delivered and secure your support army and allow for every subsequent conversation or communication to be more meaningful. In fact, when my dear friend Kris tells me, “MyLifeLine.org saved my life,” I am instantly more passionate and more driven by our cause and mission.
So that is today, but what will tomorrow bring? We have so many ideas of how we can do more, help more people and be an even more valuable resource for the caregivers and cancer patients we serve.
If we had a million dollars (and we would take more), we would have the ability to create new features, things like voice updates, so people who are bedridden and can’t hold themselves up to type can still update friends and family. Integrations with other organizations who provide services like pill bottles with medication reminders that alert caregivers when meds need to be taken. An integrated list of medications so that people who sign up to bring a meal know the dietary limitations of a person and don’t accidentally bring over a grapefruit crisp, when grapefruit doesn’t play nice with that person’s chemo drugs. We could track and record key medical data, and for anyone willing to share anonymous data with researchers trying to cure cancers, then we could collect data across the country or across the world the way that no single hospital could. We are in 183 countries and we will need to build translation module to serve the worldwide community better. Or another cause that tugs at everyone’s hearts is when a child must go through cancer and their needs can be similar but are also different to an adult community. We certainly serve anyone facing cancer, but we can grow and do everything better tomorrow.
We keep patients at the center of our design, but that design process takes time. As a nonprofit we have to first raise funds, and then build requested features. It’s our dream that someday we can be as nimble as any startup with a team of developers who are ready to jump on any ideas and execute them in a way that is beautiful and makes the lives of cancer patients and caregivers just a little less hectic, a little less burdensome, one-by-one taking away the small worries and cares that are heaped upon people going through a cancer diagnosis. Why should they have to remember when all their appointments are, how they’re getting there, what they should/shouldn’t eat and when they should take the blue pill along with the normal tasks of everyday life? Many of those things are functions technology can easily handle. We want to take away those burdens and give cancer patients as much control as we can. Helping them feel all the love of their friends and family.
Technology can be so frustrating at times, when you want it to “just work!” and that spinning wheel or blank screen just stares at you. At other times it can be magical, when you say, “what’s the score in yesterday’s Broncos game?” and a voice from your pocket replies with the answer. With additional capital, MyLifeLine.org would responsibly and carefully decide where to invest into the magic end of the technology spectrum. Making things work in a way that doesn’t take thought, at least for that part of a person with cancer’s day because we know they have enough other things to think about.
Everyone can be left alone to create their approach and work through their own methods of dealing with a cancer diagnosis, with some success stories and some failures. Or my preference, MyLifeLine.org would be honored to play an important role in developing an efficient and helpful process and support community, relying on the most current tools and technology available. I have yet to meet a person who has never been impacted by cancer, so if we can forge our support community against cancer then we would love to continue to support everyone who needs us.